Polygamy and Disease

ThreeringsGraham took me to this extremely interesting event yesterday, a charity dinner combined with lectures.

One woman, Fatima, from the US told her story in a way that made me cry. She was 38 years old, a mother of two, her youngest son was only three years old. And she was dying.

Her husband had married a second wife 8 years ago. As usual, it had been against the wishes of the first wife. She said however that being a good muslimah she had tried to cope, and she had taken comfort in the fact that her husband had chosen to marry a divorced lady instead of a young virgin. She was happy that at least her husband was trying to live polygamy islamically, and not only looking for new, younger women.

A while back, Fatima had started to feel poorly. She had begun to experience pain during sex, and she found that she sometimes bled after intercourse. She also had a bad, continuous backpain.

They found she had cervical cancer. And it was beyond help. She is dying.

They told her papilloma virus was the reason she had cancer. And the papilloma virus had been brought to her by her husband from his other wife. The other wife never knew she had papilloma virus. Not all women get any symptoms at all from this.

80 million people in the US alone carry the virus. Many of them will never know, so they keep spreading it. Men won’t as easily get sick from it, but they give it to their women, and they might die. Fatima said polygyny is one of the reasons papilloma is spreading so rapidly. Many men still don’t make their new wives check for STD:s before they marry, and there are men who don’t care if their women have papilloma since it’s not as hazardous for males. And a lot of people don’t understand that e.g. papilloma virus spreads just as much among people who only have marital sex. So all you women out there living polygyny – you must be aware that your husband may be bringing death to your bed! As a small gift from his other wife…

So Fatima is dying, her children will loose their mother. Why? Because her husband chose polygamy. Because her husband forced her to share the papilloma virus with his second wife.

Polygyny killed Fatima.

It’s interesting to know that polyandry does not cause the same damage. A woman is five times as likely to contract e.g. gonorrhea, or cancer from papilloma virus, than a man. So in polyandry, the polygamous party is the one taking the major risk. In polygyny however, the polygamous male takes almost no risk. It’s the monogamous wives who have to pay the price for their polygamous husband. Another clear moral argument for polyandry, and against polygyny.

83 thoughts on “Polygamy and Disease

  1. Fiona, you said:
    “I can tell you, it still hurts to the core that Iā€™m making my husband share me this way, because I know the immense pain of it. I have to keep reminding myself he was the one to choose polygamy, not Iā€¦”

    I understand. As much as you love Graham now and he is just as much your husband as Mark is, and there’s a little one arriving soon (squee! so exciting!), had Mark not taken up with teenager, none of this would have happened. I’m sure you really don’t have regrets about that now, but I do have to ask – what part does Mark play in your life now? Did he go to Oman or Yemen or whatever, you had stated awhile ago Mark was going there after Easter?

  2. Also brother, you asked for our esperience. I am monogamous and plan to remain monogamous. If my husband ever falls in live with another woman. I will divorce him. I work and earn my money but even if I go jobless in future and have no money. I will still not live with my husband after he decides to live with and sleep with another woman. I can live on road and beg or maybe do any hardworking difficult job (say clean peoples houses or such) to support myself but I will not stay in that kind I marriage. This is just my personal view your wife might be conditioned or forced to think differently but this is what most women will do if they don’t have pressure from religion society or worry for their children.

  3. Dear readers, Sorry for typos.i am always in hurry and have so much to say and typing from phone

  4. As I am a child of a polygamous father I know that having more children is NOT a good reason to become polygamous. Me and my siblings never had a father, we had this person who showed up half the time only to make our mothers cry and fail in making us feel like we had a dad. And we had to bear the shame of polygamy, the never ending harassments from people who despised us because of polygamy. Becoming polygamous to have more children is causing never ending pain to the wives and to the children. I will never forgive my father. And I will never call him dad. And I will never let him meet his grandchildren. So there.

  5. He hasn’t gone yet. As I’ve said, he’s up to something. There’s some kind of plan brewing. He’s been putting the journey off, obviously because things haven’t fallen into place yet. Well, que sera sera.

  6. Well herein lies what I’ve been talking about with regard to polygamy and how…I don’t really know how to word it but…how stifling it is. If you and Mark were still in your monogamous marriage and you knew he was up to something, you’d go out of your way to find out exactly what it is and expect him to give you answers, right? But due to the circumstances, you aren’t getting those answers. He’s not volunteering what’s going on and I assume you’re feeling held back because of the situation from getting those answers on your own. I completely and totally understand how that feels.

  7. Yes. The “don’t ask don’t tell” rule seems to be as great a success to our marriage as it was to the US army.

  8. What really sucks about it is you spent years and years with Mark in what Mariam described as the free-flowing natural love between a husband and wife (I think that’s how she put it?), til teenager came along. Then suddenly these walls that you did NOT sign on for, that you did NOT prepare for, went up. The entire dynamic of your marriage from A to Z, inside and out, changed in an instant. Same thing happened to us and boy did I fight it tooth and nail. I wanted my normal back but there was NO WAY that was happening. Suddenly half of my husband’s life was utterly and completely closed off to me, off-limits. Don’t ask don’t tell seemed to be the only way to go after that. But me being me, I wasn’t having it. I snooped, I spied, I did everything I could to keep that other half of him, the life he was building with her, with my half. It was only to my own detriment of course….it reinforced the realization that I was no longer who and what I’d been to him all those years. He had secrets with her. He had a whole different life with her that had nothing to do with me or the kids. It sucked, it sucked bad.

  9. Yes. The sharing part is bad enough, but the realization that you loose half your husband completely and the other half is somebody new, somebody LESS than before, that’s the real killer.

  10. I’m sorry Olivia šŸ˜¦ I have to hope this gentleman takes heed to your words as a child of polygyny.

    For myself, my kids lost respect for my husband. My two youngest attended the wedding as a show of support, but their #1 loyalty was to me, their mother. Had I objected to their attending their dad’s Nikah, guaranteed they would not have gone. They saw me go through the hell I did and placed the responsibility for it squarely on dad. When we split up, you could feel and see relief in these kids and they all agree I’m MUCH happier already.

    It’s sad really. My now ex-husband asks about the kids all the time and I know he loves them dearly. They now have indifference at best towards him.

    You also know I’m sure that Fiona’s own kids with Mark have huge issues with his marrying again, especially a woman who isn’t a woman at all but essentially a child. Had my husband done that, my kids definitely would never speak to him again I’m sure (he’s Mark’s age). Fortunately he at least married someone reasonably within our age bracket šŸ˜› His kids from his first marriage wanted absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it, or with #2 and still don’t. Even though I’m not their mother, their loyalty was 100% with me.

  11. I also wanted to say…my kids did spend time here and there with my ex and #2 after the wedding. I know the kids never wanted to hurt me, especially the elder son who was mature enough to have discretion in what he’d say, but my youngest told me how dad was so different with #2. That they’d laugh and joke together and he was always smiling and in a good mood. That messed me up bad, because he really wasn’t that way with me. I mean we had our lighthearted times of course but with her it was different, at least different enough for my son to take notice of it. His observations completely contradicted what my then-husband was telling me about their relationship (yes he tended to overshare but only because I was demanding insight into that half of his life LOL) where he said they did nothing and had nothing in common or anything fun and happy together. He obviously was lying to keep the peace with me, as per Islamic instruction.

  12. Olivia, I’m sorry but I’m quite curious. How did it end for your father? I mean the polygamy thing.

  13. Good question. Truthfully to figure this all out I had to do a lot of soul-searching, actively mentally putting myself in different situations, listening to my instincts and what makes me feel a certain way, having the guts to accept my feelings and to express it, reading different blogs, and my real life experiences with men. I haven’t been in a polygamous setup though anytime. So yeah, I can verbalize my feelings better after all this. I have received indirect repeated offers for polygamy a few years back from a happily married respectable male cousin who was infatuated with me for a couple years (from the time he was engaged), which I never responded to, because I was disgusted by it (although the attention was addictive at the young age). I don’t know though how other women express so.

    Polygamy is a tabooed and a confusing topic to us in our society in Bangladesh where I am from, apart from passing comments or so. They usually look uncomfortable with the topic and say at the least a husband should not mention polygamy again after seeing the reaction of his wife, if he mentions. Both single and monogamously married people seem unaware of the real feeling and emotions, as well as the work involved and the physical danger of polygamy. I grew up in Dubai though, where polygamy is more common. Here mostly women marry polygamous-minded men with the intention of having a lot of money or because they were becoming older as a spinster and are worried or they were charmed well by the man pursuing them. Also perhaps they are comfortable with the idea of sharing their spouse because of their cultural upbringing, even if it hurt. Some women I heard divorced their husbands after he married a second time.

    Alot of women have the mindset ‘As long as polygamy doesn’t happen to me I am fine with it and won’t bother discussing or asking about it’. Also religiously we are taught not to question polygamy. The idea of polyandry doesn’t even enter our minds since it is completely out of question for us. A religious woman who mentions taking another man besides her husband is considered unchaste and not normal. Yeah, sorry, just mentioned how it is. The scholars who preach are otherwise very good in character, present other religious statements very well and are helpful and understanding. What baffles me is that they slip in polygamy in a nice way and never mention the impact on the first family, emotional distress, financial and time-giving stress, the love between the husband and wife being no longer special and unique, and how the same reasons for polygyny could be well presented for justifying polyandry. This by itself has broken my trust for a lot of scholars, mainly male scholars. Also the society of today is almost completely different from the society of over a thousand years back or even seventy years back, manly in terms of equality and opportunities, so some cultural customs which may have been the norm before, which Islam barely permitted or didn’t address so much could very well be outlawed today because the same environment and society no longer applies in today’s world.

    So yeah, this cultural and religious conditioning, together with the lack of soul-searching, not having the guts to be honest, not doing self-research more than being wholly dependent on others on some topics, not being put on the spot actually facing polygamy, lack of proper support groups, not being able to be open with your husband or him being accepting of your opinions, being seen in a certain way by people, or being afraid to question something present in the religion (which is a real and honest fear by itself, regardless of society) is what makes honesty regarding sharing husband difficult for us. This is what I can come with so far.

  14. It hasn’t ended yet. He is still travelling between his families, between his miserable wives and lost children.. šŸ˜¦ He is still as tyrannical as ever, holding the families together with fear. Well he’s getting old now and he’s walking with a cane. He’s also having prostate trouble and my mother says she often wakes up with pee all over the bed. She says that when he can’t walk any more she will sure as hell make sure the other wives take turn nursing him. And she’d be happy to give up her nights now… Me and my siblings all hate him.

  15. Hello Olivia, it is sad hearing your story. Why a man would do this, devoid himself and his family of love, for lust and power is still beyond my thinking. Nobody really wins at the end. By the way you had mentioned once somewhere that you had gotten married but divorced your husband because he chose polygamy. May I ask if you don’t mind, why did your husband do this even though he knew you suffered because of polygamy?

  16. Hie Fiona!!

    If I am not wrong then with you It happened in a way, that Mark while leaving for office suddenly told you one day that He has taken another wife & would not return for Four days right? Also at that time He was trying to protect your feelings best so how you gathered the idea of him being infatuated?

    Infact for first four nights when he left you for her, he wasn’t even there to see your hurt & pain….
    or was it like he used to come to comfort you right from the first night with her? or When he returned after spending first four nights, saw your pain and then from next time started coming to your home even on her nights and how long did he continued, until you got married again??

  17. Also Fiona one thing that I didn’t understand is how he managed to visit her hometown, celebrate wedding night with her and spend sometime with her without giving you even a slightest doubt on him?

    Like you must be knowing well at what time he usually leaves for office and returns back, in what all outdoor activities he has involved himself? There must be some unexplained missing time with family and that too on a regular basis?

    Also when he was infatuated by her but spending every night with you there must be some difference in his mood, features, dressing, lifestyle….

    was it made possible through lies or you failed to pay that much attention at that time??

  18. Hi Soon2b1, if your husband eventually agrees and provides proof that other woman is clean then are you ok with his 2nd marriage? Are you ok with your husband sleeping with another woman and then coming to you and kids just to leave again. If your husband doesn’t agree to medical check up for other woman then what is your plan. Did you tell your husband what are the consequences if he doesn’t listen to your concern. Do you think you can leave your husband if he goes ahead and marries 2nd.
    You mentioned visa and work permit. Do you mind sharing which country do you and your husband live in. Is polygamy legal in this country. If you have work permit then start finding work. Tell your husband that Allah has given us brain and made us able to understand the science of diseases. Not using your brain is an insult to Allah who gifted you this brain and ability to think of your and your kids safety.
    What are the laws in your country about child custody if your husband and you end up divorced. Are you even considering divorce as an option.

  19. Righttotalk, Fiona already has two husbands so she is living polygamy you telling her that polygamy isn’t permitted to women doesn’t make any difference. You came to this blog and got pissed that a woman is being equal to men and living polygamy like many men. You message shows how pissed you are that you had to resort to use such unintelligent comments. Either you don’t have ability to think like Dale indicated or you are really really pissed lol
    If you have some ability to think then let me tell you that in some parts if India polygamy is permissible for women. Brothers have a family duty to marry one woman to keep the family property intact. Do you think it is fair to these men always have to share the wife with brother/s?

  20. Hi Successful!

    My husband works in management in an international company. The weekend he “married” #2, I thought he was attending a conference in Leeds. In fact, they went through a nikah ceremony in Brompton. He then had her installed in a semi in St Albans. He spent some days and evenings with her, and a night when he told me he was in Normandy. He had convinced her that he needed a couple of months before he told me of their relationship. He told me, he thought I’d accept it more readily if he had already proven to me that he could be married to both of us, and everything would feel the same, be the same. Stupid sod. But when he did tell me about her, I could see how infatuated he was. He doesn’t have a pokerface, I can tell you. He looked like a 14 year old boy, drooling at the mouth at the thought of a pair of tits. It was disgusting.
    No, he didn’t come around. Once he started on a four night schedule he stuck to it no matter what. He didn’t alter it even the time I had cut myself. He said that allowing my pain to alter the schedule would only prolong the pain since it would keep me from adjusting to my new reality. He only changes the schedule when I had married Graham. He refused to go back to #2 when I told him I was polygamous too. I left for Graham but Mark stayed at our home. When I came back four days later he was still there. He thought that if I knew he was waiting for me, I would prefer to come back to him. Well, I didn’t. After that we’ve had some run ins when he’s tried to manipulate the schedule, but I refuse. His arguments have come back to bite him…

  21. He didn’t visit her hometown. She came to the UK. Everything was negotiated through friends of Marks.
    Since my husband is in a leading position at work, he keeps rather irregular hours.

    Did I notice anything? I have asked myself that question so many times!! Well, maybe I did. I don’t know anymore… But there were tons of lies….

  22. Treating a woman like a child… that is what it all sounds like. Men not knowing how to be men, thinking being a leader means you are allowed to treat your fellow woman as less than an equal and train her through your own ways till she adjusts. Even treat her as less of a human than a man. It is just disgusting, sorry to say. Particularly if this happens in today’s day and age where woman are getting equal education, and a lot more independence to broaden their horizons compared to generations before. Even if the woman doesn’t get these benefits it is still unfair to treat her as such.

    I don’t know where these men got the idea that you are allowed to lie to your spouse to keep peace in the family. I never heard that before throughout my Islamic education. What I did learn is that minor white lies are sometimes allowed for peace-keeping in general, like people do anyway such as to speak of a person in a better light, and when there is a real danger involved to one’s life, such as enemies killing a person based on their religious beliefs. But lying like this to a spouse? Where is the trust if a fellow spouse makes major and repeated scattered lies? I am surprised you are still with Mark, and more so that you regret hurting him through your own polygamy. It means you have a good heart. But none of his actions mentioned sound Islamic from my point of view. Scholars who mention otherwise and hence repeated oppression of the wives are giving a viewpoint of how their own marriages are like.

  23. I think you probably did notice something, Fiona, but if another woman never crossed your mind, you probably wrote it off any behaviors that may have been odd or different.

    I never in a million years thought my husband would do this. So when he began to act differently I paid it no mind and I bought every lie he told me without question. Hindsight is 20/20 and the truth of it is, my husband was practically writing it in neon letters from almost day one.

  24. I wanted to thank both Fiona, and some of the regular contributors for opening up a little about who you are, where you are from, and what your circumstances are. I feel a little impeded at the moment from doing the same. But I do want to share that a man walked into my life that brought joy but also more destruction of self than I ever thought possible. And I still can’t get out of it. No matter how many times I resolve to be done with this, it breaks down every time I spend time with him. I feel like it is a woman’s own state of mind which binds her to these painful situations. Nothing a man can do to put a woman down will be effective once she stops imprisoning herself. But saying this doesn’t mean that I know how to do it.

    Fiona, there is a question I’ve had but haven’t wanted to ask. But you were so kind as to answer Successful’s questions so frankly that I thought I would speak out. The manner by which Mark married #2, and the way he told you is terrible. And since you and I, and some of your other readers live in a world where we have certain economic freedoms, it is the sleazy lying that tells the tale. For women who don’t have the social freedom to build their own lives, it is the fact of polygamy that matters, reacting to the lying must look like a middle class privilege.

    Still. How do you absorb into your world of care, a man who does to you what he did, and then continues on to discard #2 because it didn’t turn out the way he thought, then yanks her back because he feels like it? He really is acting out the worst combination of a man of privilege in the developed world, with a woman with little direct power in a society where she just has to take what is handed to her and make the best of it emotionally.

    The complexity in this is not alien to me, that’s not why I’m asking. But honestly, his behaviror towards her strikes me as just more disgusting stuff.

  25. It certainly is disgusting. The way he has treated all of us – abominable. I can’t say I pity her much though. I’m sorry but I don’t. She has been horrid. I believe a person can be good, or try to be good, under any circumstances. She never even tried. She was poor yes, and living in a horrible society. But still, she never did anything but nasty, evil and selfish things to me or my children. Sorry.
    But of course, Mark is the main villain in all this. How can I stay with him, love him? Well, because I do. I can’t give a better explanation than that. He’s part of me. He’s all that’s left of my family. He’s in my blood.

    I want to thank you Dale, and all of you. You are extremely important to me. I am so grateful.

  26. Thanks Fiona…

    For taking the time out to answer my Questions and considering all my curious requests so Sincerely always!!
    Lots of love and care

  27. Hie Dale!!

    Yes I completely agree with you…


    I now understand this Quote…

    Warm regards

  28. Erendira, at risk of starting a firestorm… There are several neighborhood urgent care clinics to most major cities that can do this testing for you. There is also Planned Parenthood who, contrary to popular belief, is focused to providing health care to all women regardless of income level, marital status, or job status. They do all sorts of screenings, including those for STDs and breast cancer. If you cannot find a local clinic to go to because of insurance / money issues, check out Planned Parenthood and ask them for help with screenings.

  29. I have very strong feelings about relationships. Mainly, a person should NOT get into a relationship with someone because they need to be in a relationship or because they want something specific from the relationship (other than the other person). Relationships built on expectations tend to fail spectacularly.

    That being said, if you’re willing to take some advice from a polyamorous (and not Muslim) man, my friend (nicknamed The Ferrett) quite often posts advice on how he deals with the poly relationships in his life. You can find his blog at theferrett dot livejournal dot com. I assure you it’s worth the read. Ferrett has an interesting viewpoint on how to make a poly relationship work and maybe some of his advice will work for you.

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